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I'm sure this has been asked before, but I couldn't find a thread answering what I'm after (assuming this isn't a 'how long is a piece of string' type question).
I'm a couple of weeks away from throwing up a site which will ostensibly sell a product that I've been working on for a couple of years now. It's a specific product for a generic market (think blue-green widgets with a hollow centre).
I intend to have a number of pages on the site that will target the blue-green side of things, and others that will focus on the hollow centre, but the main search term that people use is normally 'widgets'. And as we all know, 'widgets' is a very common keyword.
What I'd like to know is if there are any standard techniques you all use to determine (if it's possible at all) what methods other sites are using to get to number one? I've looked at the first site in Google for this particular widget, and it's main page is a large graphic with no text whatsoever. It's number one up against 2.3 million other results. And the source code isn't that focused either. I'm sure there is something fishy going on, but I don't yet have the SEO skills to determine exactly what they are doing.
Is it a case of just biding my time until I'm proficient enough at this game to understand the way it's done, or are there some techniques I can employ to see thru the smoke and mirrors?
There could well be something fishy going on :)
Try a few of the major things first.
1. Look at their pages in depth. View the source code and look for things in there. Perhaps there is hidden code or words.
2. Have a look at the cached version, if what you see is different from what they have on the main site chances are they are cloaking.
3. Take a peek at the backlinks and visit those pages and see what text is being use. Eg “blue hollow widgets” as the lining text is better than “click here”. Those backlinks will likely as not provide opportunities for you to get links from. See who links to the backlinks and approach then also.
Studying other peoples pages is a great way to pick up new things, secondary to spending a lot of time reading the various forums that are full of good information.
when you search in google for "blue green widgets with holes" you'll get sites listed that have all or some of those words on them in any order, which is why you see 2.3 million results. if you do the same search using speech marks (the EXACT TERM), you'll see fewer results.
if someone has the exact search term "blue green widgets with holes" and the domain name "blue-green-widgets-with-holes.com" and the search term is in the title / h1 / page content etc etc etc etc then the page will stand a good chance of being seen as "the most relevant page" for that search and could therefore come top very easily.
>>Is it a case of just biding my time until I'm proficient enough at
>>this game to understand the way it's done
yes. stick around webmasterworld and read, read and read some more. the more you read, the more you learn. the more you learn, the better you do. go back through old threads and check the library and FAQs etc.
don't forget there are lots of other search engines and their ranking algorithms will differ. read and learn, read and learn.